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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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is sometimes used generally for a change of mind, and an earnest wishing that something were undone that has been done. Esau found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears; he could not move his father Isaac to repent of what he had done, or to recall the blessing from Jacob and confer it on himself, Hebrews 12:17 ; Matthew 3:2 ; Matthew 4:17 . Taken in a religious sense it signifies conviction of sin and sorrow for it. But there is,

1. A partial or worldly repentance, wherein one is grieved for and turns from his sin, merely on account of the hurt it has done, or is likely to do, him; so a malefactor, who still loves his sin, repents of doing it, because it brings him to punishment.

2. An evangelical repentance, which is a godly sorrow wrought in the heart of a sinful person by the word and Spirit of God, whereby, from a sense of his sin, as offensive to God, and defiling and endangering to his own soul, and from an apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, he, with grief and hatred of all his known sins, turns from them to God, as his Saviour and Lord. This is called "repentance toward God," as therein we turn from sin to him; and "repentance unto life;" as it leads to spiritual life, and is the first step to eternal life, Matthew 3:2 ; Acts 3:19 ; Acts 11:18 ; Acts 20:12 . God himself is said to repent, but this can only be understood of his altering his conduct towards his creatures, either in the bestowing of good or the infliction of evil: which change in the divine conduct is founded on a change in his creatures; and thus, speaking after the manner of men, God is said to repent.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Repentance'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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